Candidates for Virginia governor set for 3rd, final debate

WISE, Va. (AP) – The two major party candidates in Virginia’s closely watched race for governor are set for their third and final debate.

Republican Ed Gillespie and Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam will debate Monday evening at the University of Virginia at Wise. Gillespie was a senior White House adviser to former President George W. Bush.

The southwest Virginia debate comes a month before Election Day in a year when only two states are electing new governors. Virginia’s swing state status has led to intense national interest, with President Donald Trump recently weighing in on Twitter to attack Northam and urge voters to support Gillespie.

Southwest Virginia, home to the state’s economically depressed coal country, went heavily for Trump, and Gillespie likely will need similar support to win.

8News reporter Evanne Armour spoke with representatives from both campaigns about how their feeling heading into Monday night’s final debate.

Gillespie’s campaign spokesman Dave Abrams issued the following statement:

“We are at a critical juncture in Virginia, and Ed is looking forward to another opportunity to share his positive, detailed vision on how to create jobs, raise take-home pay, help people lift themselves out of poverty, improve our public schools, and solve our transportation problems.”

Ofirah Yheskel, Northam’s press secretary said the following:

“Ralph is confident that the vision he will communicate tonight — a vision to expand opportunity for all Virginians — will resonate with voters throughout the Commonwealth. 

“He’s excited to discuss his G3 program — get skilled, get a job, and give back — to make sure that Virginians have the skills needed to fill the workforce of the future. To make this possible, Ralph will increase the educational offerings at UVA Wise. To ensure that no family is one medical emergency away from financial demise, Ralph will propose expanding Medicaid in the Commonwealth. Ralph is looking forward to speaking with voters about the need for the Commonwealth’s next governor to defend the economic security, health, and equal rights of all Virginians.”

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